Last season was all about transition for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense.
There were new, young faces and there was more focus on getting the right ones in place than consistently putting heat on the quarterback. Although the Steelers finished with a respectable 38 sacks, which tied them for ninth in the NFL in 2016, they knew they could do better.
‘Guys understand how viable they need to be’
And linebacker Ryan Shazier promises that will be the case this year.
“I think we’ll do a great job this year of making quarterbacks uncomfortable,” Shazier told Bruce Murray and Mark Dominik on the SiriusXM Blitz. “I think we had a really young team last year and we were just trying to merge in pieces together, seeing who fit together. We lost Lawrence (Timmons to the Miami Dolphins in free agency, but) we pretty much got the whole defense back. And guys understand how viable they need to be and what they need to do to get us to being one of the top defenses in the NFL.”
‘We’re definitely going to get to the quarterback a lot more this year’
Shazier speaks regularly with fellow Steeler linebackers Bud Dupree, TJ Watt and James Harrison, and he knows they all share the desire to lead the team in sacks.
“But we all understand that if we get to the quarterback and disrupt the quarterback, we’re going to have a winning season and we’re going to be the defense that we want to be,” Shazier said. “They compete every day and get to the quarterback and get off (the ball) and (do) everything they can. I don’t know which guy it’s going to be, but I think that we’re definitely going to get to the quarterback a lot more this year than we did last year.”
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